The Woman of Substance: The Secret Life That Inspired the Renowned Storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford [NOOK Book]


The definitive biography of Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of twenty-one top-of-the-lists blockbuster bestsellers, starting with A Woman of Substance

For the first time ever, take a fascinating look at the remarkable life of Barbara Taylor Bradford. Her first book, A Woman of Substance, is one of the bestselling novels of all time and has made her one of the most successful authors in the world. Yet her rise to fame and fortune was not an easy...

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The Woman of Substance: The Secret Life That Inspired the Renowned Storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford

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The definitive biography of Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of twenty-one top-of-the-lists blockbuster bestsellers, starting with A Woman of Substance

For the first time ever, take a fascinating look at the remarkable life of Barbara Taylor Bradford. Her first book, A Woman of Substance, is one of the bestselling novels of all time and has made her one of the most successful authors in the world. Yet her rise to fame and fortune was not an easy one.

Barbara came from humble beginnings in Yorkshire, the only daughter of a laborer and a nanny. From an early age, her mother Freda had marked her daughter out for glory—-at any cost. This drive, ambition, and desire to triumph helped Barbara take the Yorkshire Evening Post and Fleet Street by storm. But her biggest achievement was undeniably A Woman of Substance. The novel's unforgettable heroine, Emma Harte, was a powerful, success-fuelled woman whose rise from kitchen maid to international business woman was an inspiration to women the world over. Emma's life is a testament to Barbara's imagination but here, for the first time, Piers Dudgeon unearths amazing parallels in the lives of Barbara's fictional characters and her real-life family. More remarkable still is that Barbara herself was previously completely unaware of these deeply buried secrets. In this incredible story, fact and fiction exist side by side and art unwittingly imitates life.

This is the first time Barbara Taylor Bradford has collaborated on a memoir of her amazing life. Full of revelations, it's as absorbing a read as any one of her bestsellers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dudgeon, a British biographer with books on Catherine Cookson and Josephine Cox, salutes Bradford's intrigue-laden books with both his title (a play on her bestselling Cinderella story) and subtitle. Developed with Bradford's cooperation and cordial dinner invitations, this biography plunges into the author's salad days, carefully sorting out the circumstances that gave rise to her 20 bestsellers. With both narrow and wide-angle lenses, Dudgeon explores the familial hardships, career triumphs and cultural forces that informed and inspired her romance novels, which turn on colorful heroines with flinty pride and family secrets. Born in 1933, Bradford rose from working-class dreamer to wealthy celebrity, and her novels tap into the era's aspirational impulses. She became a cub reporter for the British tabloids at age 15, then established a career in magazine reporting before publishing A Woman of Substance in 1976, the first of many wildly popular reads. Reverent and often rhapsodic, Dudgeon probes Bradford's plots and characters, dissecting passages with the intensity of a literary critic as he scans for threads that connect art and life. An enjoyable opening scene at Bradford's Sutton Place digs conjures a milieu as mesmerizing as the subject's own fictional settings. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this sympathetic portrayal of best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford (A Woman of Substance) written with her collaboration, Dudgeon (The Girl from Leam Lane: The Life and Writing of Catherine Cookson) explores his subject's life "through the looking glass of her fiction." He cites passages from her novels to prove his hypothesis that her stories germinate from her subconscious; he contends that Bradford's great success both in her personal and in her professional lives appeases her mother's great sense of loss and her grandmother's dream of rising in the world: Bradford's novels, in effect, are the "means by which she shares in the experiences of her past, her mother's past, and that of her mother's mother." In addition to providing the expected details of Bradford's childhood and family relationships, Dudgeon notes her "voice strategy," the meticulous research she undertakes for each novel, and her theory on writing fiction. More irritating than interesting are the references to Dudgeon's work on other biographies, the melodramatic tone of the text, and Dudgeon's excessive use of slang. Still, given Bradford's popularity, this book is recommended for public libraries.-Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Amid recent scholarly biographies of The Bard of Avon, we are now favored with the inside scoop on another pride of English letters, Barbara Taylor Bradford. She is not to be confused, despite their beloved little doggies, with the late Dame Barbara Cartland (or, despite the evident grandeur and charm as depicted by biographer Dudgeon, with Dame Edna). Bradford is the manufacturer of popular novels reaching, purportedly, 75 million copies sold, in 40 languages. Since her 1979 breakout book, A Woman of Substance, there have been scores more, plus a wave of TV spin-offs, and still, bless her, she soldiers on. The canon, as seen by Dudgeon, is not wholly fictional. He traces Barbara's history from her birth more than 70 years ago, in Armley, Yorkshire. He visits the settings of her stories, "up the ginnel towards the moor where she would often play," and bares the models for her engaging characters. Some speculative true-life parallels are drawn to her fiction with support from the novelist herself. He climbs her family tree and shakes loose, on her mother's side, some workhouse history and illegitimacy (involving, perhaps, a titled gentleman). Thus the "secret life" of the subtitle. He follows Cartland's rise from teenage cub reporter in Yorkshire through glamorous, bibulous Mayfair in the '60s as tasteful fashion editor. Then came marriage to movie producer Bob Bradford and residence in New York. The Emma Harte family saga and other books about substantial women followed, with Bob successfully building the brand and producing the films. Not omitting well-dressed movie stars, much heather, crisp napery, candlelight, crenellated castle keeps, strong heroines and pretty heroes, we are givenpertinent extracts in extenso from the Bradford oeuvre. Aimed, of course, at fans, who will love it. To those unmoved by the Barbara Taylor Bradford mystique, all this will, naturally, be of supreme unimportance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466862708
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 85,829
  • File size: 434 KB

Meet the Author

Piers Dudgeon is the author of fifteen works of nonfiction. He worked for ten years as a publisher before starting his own company and developing books with authors as diverse as John Fowles, Ted Hughes, Daphne du Maurier, Catherine Cookson, and Peter Ackroyd. In 1993, he moved to a village on the North Yorkshire Moors, where he has written a number of books. His books include The Woman of Substance and Maeve Binchy: The Biography.

PIERS DUDGEON is a writer, editor, and photographer. He worked for ten years as a publisher in London and then started his own company, Pilot Productions. He is the author of bestselling biographies of Catherine Cookson, Edward de Bono, the composer Sir John Tavener, and the novelists Barbara Taylor Bradford, Josephine Cox, J. M. Barrie and Daphne du Maurier.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Well written

    This biography takes a close look at popular women¿s fiction novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford, who has sold over seventy million books since her first novel, A Woman of Substance was issued in 1979. Ms. Bradford was born in Leeds over seven decades ago into a relatively modest background. Yet her mother, a nanny expected great things from her pushing her to succeed way beyond the daughter of a laborer or a nanny. Ms. Bradford does quite well at Fleet Street before marrying Bob Bradford and taking New York by storm. A Woman of Substance is the acme of her success feeding a mass of sequels and TV shows. This is a fascinating biography aimed at readers who enjoy British romantic fiction. Though Ms. Bradford is an interesting author, her fictionalized characters take charge of her bio as Piers Dudgeon takes his audience on tours of locales used by Ms. Bradford in her novels and compares those to the writer¿s home locations especially as a child. With over fifty illustrations to augment the text, fans of the author will appreciate this fine homage while others will pass.---- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted April 27, 2010

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